Reflection on the 2020 Election by PA Green Party Candidate Michael Bagdes-Canning

Green Party of Pennsylvania
Wednesday, December 11, 2020
Chris Robinson, Communication Team
267-977-0570 and [email protected]
Reflection on the 2020 Election by PA Green Party Candidate Michael Bagdes-Canning
Michael Bagdes-Canning ran as the Green Party candidate for election to PA House District 64. Bagdes-Canning was already an elected member of the Cherry Valley Borough Council in Butler County. Chris Robinson, co-leader of the Green Party of PA (GPPA, communication team, interviewed Bagdes-Canning to discover what he learned about being a candidate for the GPPA.
GPPAMichael, We would like to hear your thoughts about your campaign for PA District 64. I see that you did really well, pulling 5,584 votes. Good Job!

Bagdes-CanningThank you, Chris. It has been little more than a month since Election Day. I am still processing what happened. One thing is obvious, I did not get elected. In a highly charged election cycle, I received 20% of the vote. 
This can be looked at in a few ways. We could say that my vote total soared from the 2% I got in 2016 to the 20% I got this year: AMAZING! Or we could say that I significantly underperformed because Joe Biden got around 31% of the vote in PA District 64, but I only got 20%: BUMMER!
I think the truth lies somewhere in between. One thing is certain, I knew on Election Day morning that we were in for a rough ride: there were record-breaking lines at polling places and lots of talk about only voting for Republicans.

GPPAWere there lessons, Michael, that you learned from running for Cherry Valley Borough Council, which helped you this year?
Bagdes-Canning: This race, Chris, was a learning experience for me. I have been on the Cherry Valley Borough Council since 1989. Twice before, I have run for higher profile offices (Butler County Commissioner in 2015 and this same seat, PA House District 64, in 2016). This race was nothing like running for Cherry Valley Borough Council. I know my neighbors, and they know me. 
GPPACan you tell if your name recognition as a member of the Borough Council helped pull votes for you?
Bagdes-Canning: I am fairly well known in Butler County. I have a high profile because I have been “in the news” for the last 40 years. My campaigns, my seat on Cherry Valley Borough’s Council, my letters to the editor of the local paper, and my “activism” around fracking, anti-discrimination ordinances, and several direct action campaigns I have organized, have given me a fairly high profile.

However, because of the way the district is drawn, my part of Butler County is a small appendage of PA District 64, but it is a very Republican stronghold. Most of the district is in Venango County, well outside my wheelhouse. Even in Butler County, even in Cherry Valley, this election was different. Voters were focused on the Presidential race, and many people voted only for Republicans. In the past, for my two higher profile races, I won Cherry Valley and did relatively well in other Butler County precincts. This time, it was a dead heat in Cherry Valley. In Butler County, I got a lower percentage of the vote than I did in Venango County (but better than my last runs).
GPPAPlease give us an idea of what went into your campaign?

Bagdes-CanningWell, Chris, we were able to raise a significant amount of money, seven times what the incumbent raised in the cycle and more than all of his previous challengers combined. We ran a spirited campaign, had a robust web presence, and a surprisingly good ground game and phone banking operation.
When I talked to people, our message resonated. I’m not suggesting that it resonated with a majority of voters, but it did resonate with many of the voters, even people who did not vote for me. I think that is significant because I did not specifically seek out like-minded voters. These were voters that I bumped into on the street, voters I met at their doors when we were distributing literature, voters I met standing in line on Election Day.
First, my platform was unlike ANYTHING that a Democrat or a Republican has run on in this area. We ran on a Green New Deal, Medicare For All, government you can trust, a living wage, protected and expanded civil liberties, water you can drink, and education that is educational. We ran on these things because these are issues that resonate with folks in this region. We’ve been hemorrhaging jobs and young people for the last 40 years, we are dealing with the toxic legacy of the oil industry and fracking, our schools and colleges are underfunded, and we work harder for less and are more impoverished than much of the state. Specifically, our messages around anti-corruption and jobs seemed to touch people.

Second, we reached new people. We developed a productive relationship with a couple groups of young people, students from local high schools and twenty-somethings organized into the Oil Region DSA. The former were a huge part of our local ground game. The latter were part of a direct action we pulled off at my opponent’s local office.
Third, we built some bridges toward some of the mainstream movement groups: Indivisible We Rise, Our Revolution, Food and Water Action, Sunrise, and other groups. Those bridges were not enough to energize many of them to become volunteers, but they were aware of our campaign. We were also able to forge a good working relationship with the two county Democratic Party Committees. They did not endorse us, but they did help us (particularly the Venango County Democrats). 
GPPADid you have volunteers at some or all of the polls in District 64 on 11/3?
Bagdes-CanningOn Election Day, we had people working the larger polling places in Venango County. We were the ONLY campaign to have anyone at polling places (according to a reporter and a Venango County Sheriff). We did not have enough volunteers to cover all of the polling places.
GPPADo you plan to run again, Michael, in 2022?
Bagdes-CanningGiven all that has happened, I think it will be important to have someone run in 2022. We built the infrastructure, and we have a better understanding of the political topography of the district. I am not sure that I am the person to carry the flag forward. I will be 69 in 2022. I am committed to helping, and I am not walking away from my homeplace. We need change. I have already committed to carrying on a conversation about the issues raised by the campaign and, I hope, in the next year we will find a candidate willing to champion those issues.
GPPAAssuming that mail-in voting remains popular, Michael, how will that affect any future campaigns?
Bagdes-CanningVoting by mail impacted our race, Chris. We spent most of July petitioning and most of August building the campaign infrastructure. By the time we rolled out our campaign in earnest, many people were already voting. I remember dropping door hangers off in Oil City and having a voter say that he had already voted, that he wished he had known that I was running. We got a late start and were constantly trying to catch up. We did much in a short time, built a strong foundation for the future, and made some good connections.
GPPAWhat advice do you offer to those who plan to run in 2022?

Bagdes-CanningNo matter what, I would recommend starting right now. Start reaching out to the people you need to staff your campaign. Start raising awareness. Build your network. Build enthusiasm. Identify important people. Do not wait.
I did not decide to run until I heard that the incumbent was running unopposed. That was in April. We did not leave ourselves enough time to make ourselves known. Even during the last week of the campaign, I would still run into people who had no idea I was running.
Do not assume that you are going to be able to generate buzz simply by announcing you are in the race. The pandemic limited our opportunities to engage in “normal”� campaign activities. Therefore, we had a tough time getting nominating petitions signed, meeting voters at events (they were all cancelled), or even knocking on doors. Many voters had already voted by the time that we were rolling out our campaign.
GPPA: I think you did a great job, Michael, were you satisfied?
Bagdes-CanningMy campaign, Chris, was as strong as it was because of the people around me. I have always referred to the campaign as “we”� because I was merely the face of the campaign. Obviously, you need a face, but if you do not have a team behind that face then 2% of the vote will be a realistic goal. Without the campaign team, I would not have been capable of running the robust operation that we rolled out. For instance, we aggressively used social media with some really sophisticated video. This old dog tripled his Twitter following and opened an Instagram account.
So, my take-aways: Start early; build your local literacy and become conversant on local issues; build a team; build local infrastructure; and engage young people. Don’t waste too much time on endorsements that will not provide tangible support; figure out a strategy that is not dependent on local media; and make your own media.
The thing I am most excited about, moving forward, is connecting our Green Values to the other movements in my district. What we are for is what many people are craving.
The Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) is an independent political party that stands in opposition to the two corporate parties. GPPA candidates promote public policy based on the Green Party’s Four Pillars: grassroots democracy, nonviolence, ecological wisdom, and social justice/equal opportunity. For further information about GPPA, please visit Please follow GPPA on social media: Facebook,,  and Twitter,
Photos of Michael Bagdes-Canning are available here,
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Judge Diamond's Big Miscalculation

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 
Judge Diamond's Big Miscalculation
--By Emily Cook.
      Many Greens are aware that Jill Stein sued the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania following the 2016 election to reveal that voters could not demand a recount of voting machines that were unverifiable. The subsequent settlement, among other things, required a true paper ballot. Once the counties started purchasing the machines, Stein’s committee found that the Election Systems & Software ExpressVote XL (ES&SXL) did not provide a true paper ballot. She therefore reopened the settlement in November 2019.  I was a plaintiff as well an observer in the courtroom in the reopening of the settlement. I also observed the mostly thankless role which Jill Stein had in doing what was right for the voters. Judge Paul S. Diamond released his opinion on April 29, and it was not favorable.
      With the pandemic disrupting most aspects of civic life, one might feel that the prospect of voting in person at a polling station is dangerous and/or even irrelevant. The paper ballot problem is only temporarily resolved by mail in ballots. Troubles remain with these machines and these troubles will return to haunt the public in every election following the pandemic. Undercounting has already been shown in Northampton County, PA. Without a true paper ballot, we still do not have verifiability of the vote in many counties in the Commonwealth.
      Jill Stein’s challenge to decertify the ES&SXL in Federal Court just preceded the pandemic. The judge asserted that Jill Stein’s “co-Plaintiffs have played no discernible role.” He then unfairly proceeded to dump on Jill Stein, feeling there was no one else.
      In Judge Diamond’s courtroom, I felt the scene would have pleased central casting for a John Grisham book-to-movie. There were state officials playing their role, evasive and unhelpful.  The judge was, for his part, hostile to our counsel throughout. Once he even barking at them, “Don’t waste my time,” as if they were unruly children. Diamond openly chatted with the defense and interfered far less with their arguments than ours. Must he have been so obvious?
      Diamond also snarked in his opinion that this “litigation appears to have created a single benefit that would not otherwise have been conferred: the payment of $150,000 to Stein’s lawyers.” Any decent judge knows better than to comment about professional fees in an opinion. It’s unprofessional, and it shows pettiness. A simple perusal of Diamond’s own career reveals he was probably more than compensated as an attorney coming up. Such wisecracks belong in chambers or in the local courthouse watering hole.
      What was not allowed in the case -- or was outside its scope – was the long, ugly process by which the Philadelphia City Commissioners, for example, took money from the poorest city in the country to purchase voting machines that are demonstrably hackable, that do not use true paper ballots and are more overpriced than superior machines used in other parts of the state. Last year City Controller Rebecca Rynhart was compelled to criticize the Commissioner’s courtship with ES&S, going as far back as 2013. Organizations like Protect Our Vote Philly along with a coalition of other concerned voters have been protesting the purchase of the ES&SXL for quite some time. The City of Philadelphia nevertheless bulldozed through, unchallenged, unfazed and unaccountable. Voters may not be paying attention now, but just wait until the next close election.
      Judge Diamond’s opinion will, therefore, go down in history as one big, bellicose miscalculation. He will have to own it once the machines start failing or voters demand recounts.  We had every right to reopen the settlement based on violations of the agreement in our original case. Without true paper ballots, PA’s inability to verify the vote remains. It will be voters who lose because they deserved a fair and reliable voting system no matter who brought the lawsuit. 

      Lastly, the Federal courtroom is not the judge’s own living room, no matter how unscrutinized his work often is. Ultimately, the court belongs to the public seeking justice. We didn’t get it with Diamond. Instead, we got the rantings of a court pushed to understand something beyond their ability. Although Jill Stein and the Green Party are accustomed to excessive and largely undeserved criticism from all quarters, a legal opinion should require reason. Stein, trying to do what was right, didn’t deserve such piling-on in this thankless pursuit.

      Emily Cook is a former chair of the Green Party of Montgomery County, PA, and a former delegate to the Green Party of Pennsylvania.


For more information:

“WI Court Again Rules for Stein Recount, As PA Court Ridicules Election Integrity,” statement from Jill Stein for President Recount Team, May 1, 2020 election_integrity; 

How PA's election security lawsuit led to the challenge of the state's top-selling touchscreen voting machine” by Emily Previti, PA Post, December 10, 2019,; and

Stein recount campaign files motion to enforce PA settlement agreement, decertify unverifiable voting machines,” news release, Jill Stein for President Recount Team, November 26, 2019,   

Third Parties File Covid Suit Over Pennsylvania Ballot Rules

Bloomberg Law, Friday, May 15, 2020

      Pennsylvania’s requirements for in-person signature collection for third parties to qualify for the November ballot are unconstitutional in light of the Covid-19 public health emergency, the state’s Libertarian, Constitution, and Green parties argue in a new federal lawsuit. The parties should be allowed access to the ballot without the in-person signatures, because it will be nearly impossible or very unsafe to collect them, they argue.
      The state classifies “minor political parties” as those that received less than 15% of total statewide registration, and “political bodies” as groups that don’t pass a certain threshold of votes cast in the most recent general election. Candidates of such parties must collect a certain number of voter signatures, which varies based on the elected office, for their candidates to appear on the general election ballot. These signatures must be collected and witnessed in-person. The deadline to turn in these signatures this year is Aug. 3.
      “The public health emergency caused by COVID-19 and the various ‘stay at home’ orders issued by Governor Wolf make it unlawful and practically impossible to gather signatures for nomination papers in Pennsylvania,” the plaintiffs argue in their suit filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
      Even if the emergency measures are lifted before the deadline, it will remain difficult “if not practically impossible” to collect the required signatures without endangering the health and lives of petition circulators, potential signatories, and the public at large, they say. The plaintiffs argue that there are safer and less burdensome alternatives to in-person signature collection, such as online petitioning.
Causes of Action: First Amendment, equal protection and due process clauses of Fourteenth Amendment.
Relief Requested: Order the state to accept candidates’ nomination papers without the signatures.
Response: The office of Governor Tom Wolf (D) didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment. The office of Kathy Boockvar, secretary of the commonwealth, declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Attorneys: The plaintiffs are represented by Anderson & Labovitz LLC.
The case is Libertarian Party of Pa. v. Wolf, E.D. Pa., No. 5:20-cv-02299, filed 5/14/20

PA Green on Suffrage and the ERA

 Green Party of Pennsylvania
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Chris Robinson, Communication Team
215-843-4256 and [email protected]
PA Green on Suffrage and the ERA
-- By Emily Cook. 
Several anniversaries acknowledging rights of women are coming up, most notably the centenary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which gave women the right to vote. One would think that the beginning of suffrage would bring women equality, but in spite of societal gains this last century women still remain underpaid, are victims of violence and suffer from exploitation worldwide.  
Also, the United Nations will soon remind us of International Women’s Day (IWD), March 8, which originated when the Socialist Party of America organized the first Women’s Day in 1909. Women’s Day was renowned for marches and demonstrations which had even incited the Russian Revolution. The IWD has become largely an innocuous merchandised holiday in much of the world – an anachronistic celebration of what was once public demand for social reforms for workers and women. 
And it seems every generation or so, women attempt to revive the still needed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which is often cleverly extinguished by Washington’s legislative manipulation of ratification deadlines and hijacked by conservatives. I, myself, naively thought that the ERA was an initiative of the feminists of the 1970s. In fact, it had been conceived by Pennsylvania suffragist, Alice Paul back in 1923 (and finally ratified in PA in 1972).  After suffrage, Paul and other agitators and civil rights activists like Pauli Murray continued to fight for the ERA seeking equal gender rights. Last month, the state of Virginia moved to ratify the ERA offering up hope until or unless Congress decides to scuttle it again. But as Chris Carson of the League of Women Voters said, “There is no deadline on equality.”
Young women today may feel all battles for emancipation and wage parity have been won, but the consequences of patriarchy still persist. For instance, the minimum wage in a few states like Pennsylvania stagnates at $7.35 an hour, which disproportionately affects women since they comprise more of the minimum wage workforce. Additionally, three quarters of Pennsylvania tip workers are women – struggling on $2.83 an hour. With labor legislation and laws regarding child care and public health, why did just over half of women eligible to vote cast a ballot in the last midterms? What would labor activist Teresa Malkiel and Pennsylvania suffragists Lucretia Mott, Dora Lewis, Caroline Katzensein and Frances E Watkins think of how we observe these anniversaries given their hard work and sacrifice?
The ERA is simple: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Enough states have ratified ERA, but the deadline for ratification has expired. The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to repeal this deadline. Now we need the U.S. Senate to act! Please sign the petition to the Senate: “Enshrine in our Constitution that women and men are equal. Repeal the ERA ratification deadline now!” 

Emily Cook is a member of the Green Party of Montgomery County, PA. The Green Party of PA (GPPA, is an independent political party that stands in opposition to the two corporate parties. GPPA candidates promote public policy based on the Green Party’s four pillars: grassroots democracy, nonviolence, ecological wisdom, and social justice/equal opportunity. For further information about GPPA, please visit or email [email protected] Please follow GPPA on social media: Facebook and Twitter.
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Green Party Welcomes Voters Exploited by Scandals of the Democratic and Republican Establishment

Green Party of Allegheny County, PA
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Chris Robinson, GPPA Communication Team
215-843-4256 and [email protected]
Ron Gavalik, GPOAC Media Coordinator
[email protected] 

Green Party Welcomes Voters Exploited by Scandals of the Democratic and Republican Establishment 

Pittsburgh -- In the past weeks, the Green Party of Allegheny County has witnessed the Democratic and Republican establishment continue their gluttonous exploitation of the citizenry and of our natural environment. As the current power structure drives our society toward the destruction of democracy and ecological collapse, we ask responsible residents to join with us and become a democratic firewall to finally end the absolute violence inflicted upon the people.
Last week, Iowa’s Democratic Party used mobile technology and their well-financed power structure to defraud that state’s citizens during the party’s presidential caucuses. The disregard for satellite caucuses made up of ethnically diverse working-class residents is shameful. The blatant misrepresentation of voter numbers and the slow release of the results provided the media a distorted projection of the candidates and their supporters. That totalitarian control over the trajectory of the Democratic presidential contest to stop the popular nomination of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is a clear mockery of democracy.
Another recent, horrific example of exploitation came to light on February 4, when we learned the Pennsylvania State Legislature passed HB 1100, which uses corporate tax giveaways to encourage more fracking and petrochemical processing. Allegheny County already has some of the dirtiest, unhealthy air in the nation. The state’s political establishment has again ignored the benefits of the Green New Deal that could develop a sustainable economic infrastructure for energy and usher in a renaissance for American manufacturing. Instead, the egregious and arrogant decision to fund the further destruction of the ecosystem will undoubtedly increase the planet’s temperature past the 1.5C and 2C set by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018.
As devoted democratic actors in the world’s former epicenter of steel production, we call upon our neighbors to resist the march toward totalitarian control and the anthropogenic destruction of the ecosystem. 
Join us! Together, we can work to end this violence and pursue justice for the vulnerable, our nation, and the planet.
Signed in Power and Solidarity,

Green Party of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
The Green Party of Allegheny County (GPOAC, is an independent political party that stands in opposition to the two corporate parties. GPPA candidates promote public policy based on the Green Party’s four pillars: grassroots democracy, nonviolence, ecological wisdom, and social justice/equal opportunity. Please follow GPOAC on social media, @AlleghenyGreens on Facebook and Twitter. For more information about GPOAC, please email [email protected].
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Greens welcome the new year of metal and the rat


News Release

For release: Thursday, January 23, 2020

For more information please contact 

Charles Sherrouse, 267-972-5752, [email protected]

Greens welcome the new year of metal and the rat


On the second new moon after the winter solstice, Saturday January 25th the outgoing yin year of earth pig begets the yang year of metal rat. This transition is the beginning of the fourth 12 year zodiac cycle of the sexagenary lunar calendar. The last year of yang metal rat was in 1960.


The Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP) will mark the new year with a protest against saber rattling and provocations toward war with Iran. The noon rally at Dilworth Plaza on the West side of City Hall <> is among hundreds of local actions called for the 25th by CodePink <>, United National Antiwar Coalition, the Green Party of Pennsylvania, and dozens of other peace organizations.


Yang metal years are associated with evening, dryness, white, contracting and age. These are in tension with the rat's association with offspring, birth, water, green and growth. "This tension can symbolize the waning of the old order of militarism, empire and exploitation, giving way to a new generation intent on peace, social justice and ecology." said Charles Sherrouse, GPOP membership secretary.


The Greens will continue celebrating the new year with their monthly general meeting at 7 PM Thursday, January 30th at Lee Cultural Center on Haverford Avenue, at 44th Street in West Philly <>.  The meeting will open nominations for the GPOP City Committee to be elected next month. Other business includes adding members to the organizing, communications and electoral committees; as well as planning for their ballot access petition launch in February, a public forum in March, and the local Green Party Presidential Caucus in April.


Qualities traditionally associated with yang metal years include persistence, determination, patience, organization, and transformation.  Characteristics associated with rat years include optimism, practicality, intelligence, sensitivity, and conservation. These themes might be observed throughout the year.  "The association of gold and generosity with metal combined with the association of gold and thrift with the rat could indicate a good time to invest in ones values," suggests GPOP Chair Belinda Davis.


The Green Party will strive to incorporate the best of these traits into their activities to advance the four pillars of social justice, ecology, nonviolence and grassroots democracy.  For more information, please contact 215-843-4256, <[email protected]>, <> or <>.

“Blame It on My Bladder. I Didn’t Get Arrested”

 Green Party of Pennsylvania
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Chris Robinson, Communication Team
215-843-4256 and [email protected]
Doug Mason, [email protected] 
“Blame It on My Bladder. I Didn’t Get Arrested”
By Doug Mason
I have been putting my body on the line for more than 30 years now, staring with a protest involving three others at the first such anti-nuke activity at Oak Ridge Laboratories near Knoxville, TN, in August 1988. I've since been arrested at the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, TX, and twice on the Nevada Test Site in opposition to nuclear weapons. I was also detained at Fort Benning in Columbus, GA, for demonstrating against Central American policies emanating from the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (aka the School of the Americas), and was twice handcuffed for protesting government policy (or lack thereof) in Washington, DC, regarding climate change. I am chair of both the Centre County Green Party and the Sierra Club Moshannon Group in central PA.
Blame it on my bladder. I didn't get arrested, as I had planned, with 40 others at Jane Fonda's 13th Fire Drill Friday against federal inaction about climate change on January 3 in Washington, DC. Just as the rally ended on the southeast lawn of the Capitol Building, I hurried through security to access a men's room in the hallowed halls of Congress. I finished my business and approached the hundreds of marchers outside, who were by then blocking the intersection of Capitol and First Streets NE. The Capitol Police had just given their last of three warnings to the crowd to cease and desist. As I stepped off the pavement to join the most committed protesters, I was told by one of the officers to turn around or I would be arrested and face additional, more serious charges, including the crossing of a police line. He asked if I was carrying a toothbrush, since I would need it while I was locked up for the weekend awaiting an appearance before the judge on Monday. I moved back onto the sidewalk. 
Those handcuffed for "unlawfully demonstrating" included actor Sam Waterston ("The Killing Fields," "Law & Order," etc.); Janet Redman, climate director of Greenpeace USA; and retired Air Force officer Colleen Boland, coordinator of Veterans Against Climate Change. They and the others were charged with “crowding, obstructing or incommoding.” In theory, those arrested would be offered a post and forfeit -- whereby one pays a $50 fine and is released back into society after being transported by paddy wagon to the warehouse at 67 K Street NW. Post and forfeit is an option reserved for people without criminal histories who have not been engaging in the same conduct repeatedly. 
Fonda had been arrested five times since her first Fire Drill Friday in October. For that reason, she chose to step back with most of the crowd at the final police warning. She had already been locked up overnight for one of those arrests in the DC jail, which she complained had been hard on her 82-year-old bones. The actress moved Fire Drill Fridays activities to Los Angeles on February 7, after she resumed production on her TV show, "Grace and Frankie," on the west coast.
On the sidewalk, I talked with rally speaker Veronica Coptis, executive director of the Center for Coalfield Justice and chair of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Sierra Club's executive committee, as demonstrators were led away by the cops after high noon. Veronica had spoken eloquently that morning as a mother in her fight for environmental justice in southwestern PA, and linked the global climate emergency to the military industrial complex. (U.S. drones had just killed Iranian Major General Qassim Soleimani in Baghdad that day.) The theme of this first Fire Drill Friday of 2020 emphasized that "Holding Fossil Fuel Companies Accountable Can't Wait."
Others at the rally podium included actor Iain Armitage ("Young Sheldon"), who pledged to limit his plastic consumption; film director Josh Fox ("Gaslight"), who is now working on a project focused on climate refugees; and Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, North America director of, a woman of color who challenged us to listen to the voices of diversity in the climate justice movement.
Of course I'm disappointed that I wasn't arrested (it would have been my eighth bust for nonviolent civil disobedience). I spent a long July Fourth holiday weekend in a Texas jail cell once, and I wasn't quite prepared this time for hearing the slam of the barred doors again. The timing had seemed so auspicious, though . . . threatening weather held its precipitation until after the arrests, I was wearing my new Elvis "Jailhouse Rock" T-shirt and it was Greta Thunberg's 17th birthday. But my daughter was later celebrating her 44th with family at a birthday party in Virginia, where my wife was patiently awaiting my return from the nation's capital as well. Direct action is not for everyone, least of all me that day, but I believe we all need to consider ramping up our activism in light of climate chaos and other things that should outrage, if not enrage us, in this decade that history may remember as the Raging Twenties. I think it may get ugly out there in the years ahead.
Consider two laws proposed in Harrisburg by PA senators in 2019: the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, Senate Bill 887 (SB 887), and the Commonwealth Cost Reimbursement Act (SB 323). SB 887 would make felons of protesters, and could punish violators with a year in jail and a fine of at least $5,000 for a first-time offense. SB 323 would make such demonstrators pay for all governmental costs incurred in response to their actions. Senate Bills 807 and 323 are both autocratic pieces designed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that aim to criminalize our right to protest at pipelines and other fossil fuel sites. [On November 3, the steering committee of the Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) voted to oppose SB 887 and SB 323.]
The slippery slope being molded here is intended to scare us from rising up to exercise our most basic democratic rights. As ALEC was shopping such bills from state to state, it issued a boogeyman letter from fossil fuel giants urging lawmakers around the country to curtail the "growing and disturbing trend" of eco-radicals roving the land, intent on destroying America's corporate infrastructure. I don't know about you, but my hackles are up. It's time we take back our government, our energy system and our future from the corporations and corrupt politicians whose decisions and deceit contribute to the global climate crisis. 
The Green Party of PA (GPPA, is an independent political party that stands in opposition to the two corporate parties. GPPA candidates promote public policy based on the Green Party’s four pillars: grassroots democracy, nonviolence, ecological wisdom, and social justice/equal opportunity. For further information about GPPA, please visit or email [email protected] Please follow GPPA on social media: Facebook and Twitter.
 For more information:
“PA Green Party calls Senate Bill 887 ‘an Act of Terrorism’” by Timothy Runkle, GPPA News Release, November 9, 2019, and .  
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Allegheny County PA Greens - Municipal Efforts Against Fracking Are Grassroots Democracy

Municipal Efforts Against Fracking Are Grassroots Democracy

This editorial appeared in Green Point #2, online newsletter of the Green Party of Allegheny County,   

By Garret Wassermann


On October 30, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto surprised many of us by finally opposing the petrochemical build-out in western Pennsylvania publicly -- although he was careful to oppose only “additional” development and not the Shell “cracker plant” currently being built in Beaver County. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s response was a very heated rant in favor of fracking and the petrochemical industry. Fitzgerald talked about natural-gas-powered cars, implied plastics are inevitable so should be made here, and demonized a general anti-fossil-fuel stance as “far left” and unreasonable.


The lack of leadership from elected officials against today’s fracking and pipeline projects is resulting in residents taking matters into their own hands. As reported in Green Star #1 (October 21), residents of Grant Township are currently opposing a PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) lawsuit that was initiated to protect oil and gas profits; the lawsuit stems from township residents establishing a “home rule charter" to protect their air and water. On November 4, residents of Elizabeth Township will next be going to court to protect their public parks and water by opposing a township decision to open up their park to private fracking.


Municipalities are beginning to stand up and demand a more direct democracy, via courts and “home rule”. Rather than top-down governance, residents are asking: why can’t we make important decisions about our own communities directly? Indeed, this idea is exactly grassroots democracy, one of the pillars of the Green Party. We Greens should not only be supportive of Grant, Elizabeth, and other townships exerting their rights to self-determination, but actively encourage municipalities throughout Allegheny County to do the same. Our 2020 Green legislative campaigns can help change the public debate by calling attention to these struggles and strongly emphasizing communities’ right to decide their own affairs to protect their own environment and health.


The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) and state affiliate PA Community Rights Network are organizations promoting this approach; they even have draft state constitutional amendments that would affirm municipal rights to protect their environment free of state “preemption” laws as well as recognize statewide ballot referenda. It’s our values of democracy and decentralization at their finest; promoting these ideas also means promoting Green values.


I hope Green candidates in 2020 will consider these amendments as part of their legislative platforms; all Greens can investigate how to push their municipalities into claiming their own “home rule” rights to act when county and state leaders won’t.



Garret Wasserman is vice-chair of the Green Party of Allegheny County and managing editor of their Green Point online newsletter. 

The Real Green New Deal and Our National Well-Being

Green Party of Pennsylvania
Wednesday, April 2, 2019
Neal Gale, 267-825-4190 and [email protected]
Chris Robinson, 215-843-4256 and [email protected]
The Real Green New Deal and Our National Well-Being

-- By Neal Gale.

As we approach Earth Day, April 22, 2019, we might want to update ourselves on the progress we have made in addressing the ongoing climate crisis, the number one existential threat to our children, their children and everyone else who will be challenged by it for the next several millennia. In a few words – there’s so much to do and so little time to do it!
At the local and state levels, citizen activist organizations have taken the lead, followed in some cases by local and state governments, which have seen their way clear to joining with those groups fighting against the impending impact of the climatic changes that are already overtaking infrastructure in their communities. Those struggles are sometimes well rewarded, as communities and a few states have determined to set goals for transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2035 to 2050.
Whether or not these goals are achieved locally, statewide or even on a national basis, the earth will continue on. We observe Earth Day as if we are the presumed keepers of planetary balance and well-being. Some scientists have even designated a new geological era, the Anthropocene, as an indication that we humans now possess the awesome power to sway the rest of nature. And of course we do, to some extent -- our impact over the past 250 years has been unrelenting and disastrous.
But the Earth doesn’t care. She will get through it all, no matter how bad things become, and for however long it takes to re-balance herself, which she will do, with or without us humans helping out. Earth Day is just another twenty-four hours to the Great Mother.
This may all seem somewhat dour, and perhaps it is. But in spite of the pessimistic picture I have sketched, I am overall optimistic. I see promise in the Green Party’s Real Green New Deal (Real GND)1, and I imagine it being adopted as a standard, below which we will not allow ourselves to fall. Because of the urgency I feel regarding the potential good the Green Party’s Real GND can do, I am compelled to warn us off the GND Resolution (HR 109) introduced by the Democrats this year. It does not point to the same results, and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be fooled.
The Green Party has been developing the Real GND since the early two thousands, beginning with the European Green Party and continuing with the Green Party of the US, as a vision to change the course of this crisis -- while recognizing that it is not just about the environment. The dramatic and geologically recent alteration of the global climate has occurred as a result of the emergence of industrial capitalism, beginning at the outset of the eighteenth century, and our increasing reliance on the use of extracted, fossil fuels, ever since.
Additionally, that economic transition has effected all aspects of our society, transforming our way of life, in terms of the abuse of our natural resources, the structural imbalance of our economic model and the institutionalized social injustices required to support these interlocking systems. In this manner, those in power have maintained their hegemony at the cost of our planet’s stability and the well-being of the vast majority of people around the globe. These are the concerns addressed by the Green Party as expressed in its vision of the Real GND.
This vision includes an encompassing reformation of our economic model, in line with the understandings of forward-thinking economists2 who have been espousing modern monetary theory for decades, explaining how sovereign governments actually spend money. The Real GND programs outlined, including the enactment of a Full-Employment Program, will be paid for in the same way all federal programs are funded; the government passes a spending bill and then keystrokes “money” into the bank accounts of the appropriate recipients. The government does not (nor has it ever) required tax “revenues” to support spending. There are no actual, fiscal restraints on its spending. It has always been a question of political will. Who and what will the current federal spending bill favor?
This is one of the fundamental distinctions between the Green Party’s Real GND and the Democrats’. The Democrats, as one of the two political parties making up the corporate-sponsored duopoly, are not looking to take the necessary steps to alter Congress’ political will. They are part of that agenda, regardless of their GND trappings. Built into the words of their HR 109 are back doors3, allowing for the continued extraction, sales and consumption of carbon based fuels, and of course, no mention of the nuclear power industry. There’s just too much money and power driving the existing political process to allow for significant change. As noted above, without an actual, far-reaching structural change in our economic model -- with its abuse of planetary resources, inevitable economic imbalance and social injustices -- those things will all remain intact. Not to mention the climate crisis.
In light of this, perhaps we can observe on Earth Day 2019 our connection to, and reliance on the planetary systems that sustain all life; a day set aside to reflect on how we fit into the natural order, and how effectively we have disrupted it. My hope is that this Earth Day will mark the beginning of a unified call for real action on the part of all of our friends, relations, sisters and brothers: a call to transition our economic, social and environmental institutions along the lines of the Green Party’s Real Green New Deal. This must be nothing short of a re-visioning of the purpose of those institutions, aligning them with the evolution of our collective thinking. This moment calls for nothing less. The stakes are far too high.
Neal Gale is chair of the Green Party of Montgomery County, PA, and he ran as a Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate from PA in 2018. The Green Party is an independent political party that stands in opposition to the two corporate parties. GPPA candidates promote public policy based on the Green Party four pillars: grassroots democracy, nonviolence, ecological wisdom, and social justice/equal opportunity. For further information about GPPA, please visit Follow GPPA on social media: Facebook, Green Party of Pennsylvania and Twitter, @GreenPartyofPA.
Green Party’s Green New Deal:
2See L. Randall Wray, Warren Mosler, Stephanie Kelton and others, regarding modern monetary theory (MMT).
3From the proposed House Resolution 109, introduced by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on February 7, 2019:
  1. (H) overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in—
  2. (F) spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible, including by expanding renewable energy manufacturing and investing in existing manufacturing and industry;
  3. (G) working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible, including—
  4. (i) by eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible;
  5. (iv) by ensuring that any infrastructure bill considered by Congress addresses climate change;
(Bold italics added)
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3 Ways to help the Green Party (and probably not even notice) …

I have accumulated and summarized a brief list of actions and activities that you can implement in your routine that will have little or no impact to your daily life or budget.

Undoubtedly, with little change to your time and pocketbook – you can make a big impact.


Always Share (at least) three times

It almost goes without saying, or does it? Green Party of the United States (GPUS) official graphics, branding and content have come a long way over the last few years. Their press releases, op-ed and graphic production is seriously topnotch, and people should see it, especially people who are not Green…

A suggested routine regarding GPUS official content for example; a simple share to 3 “non-Green” groups you frequent. It is good to share our content for discussion amongst your other groups’ membership. Good or bad responses - conversation aside, this action builds awareness, educates and carries our message to those that may have not seen it otherwise. We are the media. We are our voice.


“Be Seen Being Green” everyday …

No Green message is too small or simple to share. Passively sharing the “Green Party” by name is one of the easier actions we can actively engage in to garner awareness and help further educate.     

Everyday you passively interact with dozens or thousands of people whether you realize it or not. Maybe a lot of people look at your backpack on the bus or subway, everyday. A trip to the grocery store in a town of 15,000 people on a Saturday for 45 minutes and you have just had forty or so people looking right at you. Your laptop could be out all day at school and every one of your classmates sees the back of your screen, everyday.

Have great road frontage with medium to heavy traffic? A one-time small investment into a banner or homemade sign with only the “Vote Green” and the Party website may engage the interest of a passersby, further building awareness and educating.

Every moment people are looking at the back of your car, backpack, laptop, coat or hat … is an opportunity for them to read “Green Party” proudly displayed on a button, pin or sticker. It is time for them to read and possibly  to peak their curiosity.


Give Green to Greens

When you can, if you can … give several small donations to several Green Party caucuses, candidates and organizations during the year. This has a minimal impact on your budget and is literally helping a candidate or Party chapter plan for the growth and outreach that our party needs.

The GreenCents program and small sustaining monthly donations of $3 and $5 are the perfect sentiment of your commitment to grow the Green Party into the largest party in the United States.

Small donors are the lifeblood of our grassroots organizations and campaigns. Your $5 every month makes a huge difference and DOES make an impact to those organizers, candidate, state and local parties you are supporting.


Written by David Ochmanowicz Jr.


David is a previous Green Party of PA (GPPA) Steering Committee Member and GPPA Secretary.

He currently serves as a local delegate, member of the GPPA and GPUS Media Committees as well as co chair of the GPUS Merchandise Committee.



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